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  • Writer's pictureAravind V

types of massage therapy

It's important to learn about the different types of massage therapy before choosing one. Here's what you need to know!

Before you start learning about massage therapy, it is essential to know the different techniques and what they entail. Various cultures throughout history have developed several systems of bodywork. This article will discuss some of the most popular forms of bodywork found around the world today.

Massage therapy has many benefits for people who participate in it and receive it. Some types of massage therapy may address particular problems with attention to specific medical conditions. At the same time, other forms may include a more global approach with techniques that promote general wellness or health promotion.

All forms use touch as an integral aspect; some also offer additional treatment options such as essential oils or reflexology for those interested in taking their relaxation treatment to another level.

Massage therapy can be either therapeutic or relaxation and designed to give you a calming and soothing feeling. It does not help with any particular health issues. Therapeutic massage, on the other hand, can be used to treat specific problems such as muscle pain and stiffness, poor blood circulation, and respiratory conditions by providing relief for those issues.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massages consist of five primary strokes that include effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber), and vibration/shaking. The many benefits of this form of bodywork encompass relieving stress, increasing flexibility, promoting deeper sleep, relieving muscle aches, reducing blood pressure, and promoting general wellness.

Deep Tissue/Sports

This massage therapy focuses on the deeper layers between the muscles and other tissues to promote flexibility and relaxation. During this form of bodywork, the techniques can include direct pressure, slow movements, friction, percussion, and tapping to break up adhesions and relieve pain and tension. Most forms will incorporate joint mobilization for increased range of motion.


Reflexology is a natural healing art that involves applying pressure to different foot areas to affect certain glands or organs within the body, such as the lungs or kidneys. This specific type of massage therapy is particularly beneficial for certain respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. The short-term effects of this type of massage include:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety levels.

  • Promoting relaxation.

  • Relieving muscle tension throughout the body.


This form of massage therapy involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to affect energy flow through meridians. Meridians are paths that follow along with our tissue system, connecting the different organs. When these specific areas are pressed, circulation, energy, or neurological function can be improved depending on where you are experiencing discomfort or pain within your body. The therapeutic benefits of acupressure also include improving immune function, reducing blood pressure, and relieving stress.


This form of bodywork focuses on applying pressure to the energy meridians to stimulate your organ functions and promote overall wellness. The specific strokes used during shiatsu massage include tapping, compression, rocking, and palm rolling; the benefits encompass improved sleep patterns, reduced chronic pain, enhanced immune system function, and increased range of motion within the joints.

Amma Therapy

Amma therapy is a process that involves pressing critical points along your spine with fingers or thumbs to heal injuries throughout your body. This type of bodywork has been known to help individuals with back problems alleviate their discomfort by promoting even distribution throughout the spine. The benefits of amma therapy include:

  • Reduced back pain.

  • Decreased stress and anxiety levels.

  • Improved sleep patterns.

  • Increased relaxation throughout the mind and body.

Hot Stone Massage

This form of massage incorporates heated stones to help improve blood flow within your body while also releasing tension from your muscles. The specific types of strokes used during this bodywork include effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, compression, and finger pressure. The benefits associated with a hot stone massage are reduced stress, improved flexibility, and relieving muscle tension throughout the entire upper half of your body.

Although there are many different forms of massage therapy, you must select a licensed or certified practitioner by the state in which they are practicing. If you are interested in finding out more about massage therapy, the largest association of massage therapists is The Marco Massage Therapy Association.

Please share this article with your network so that others can learn about these specific techniques used during different forms of bodywork.

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